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The Environmental Working Group’s annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce also prompts produce industry groups, including the Alliance for Food and Farming, to bring numbers of their own.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program report, which the EWG uses as the basis for its list, tested for pesticide residues on more than 10,000 food samples from 600 locations in 10 states. Ninety-seven percent of samples were fresh produce.
The Alliance for Food and Farming pointed out that one half of one percent, 0.5%, — 54 out of more than 10,000 — of the samples had pesticide residues over the Environmental Protection Agency’s allowable limits. That means more than 99% of the samples were safe, according to EPA’s pesticide tolerances.
Fifteen percent, or around 1,500, of the foods sampled, had no detectable pesticide residues.
“In light of new science and information about how safety fears are impacting low income consumers, it is concerning that the EWG still releases a Dirty Dozen list in 2017,” says Teresa Thorne, executive director of the Alliance for Food and Farming, in a news release. “EWG’s list has been discredited by scientists, it is not based upon risk and has now been shown to potentially discourage consumption of healthy and safe organic and conventional fruits and vegetables.”
A child could eat 181 servings, or 1448 strawberries per day and still not have any effect from pesticide residues, Thorne says.